A paper presented to the International Seminar on Project Management for Developing Countries, September 4 to 6, 1991, in New Delhi, India. The audience was made up of mostly construction people, but much of the following content could equally apply to large projects in other areas of application.

Executive Summary  | Index | Part 1 | Part 2 | Conclusions | References

Project Management Appraisal (PMA)

An enquiry into the effectiveness of a project's management may take one of several forms. It may range from a one-off assessment, through a periodic independent review, to an on-going project management overview. It can also range from an informal internal enquiry to a full and formal project management audit.

For purposes of this discussion, since there are a range of possibilities in this testing of project management effectiveness, it will be convenient to use the term Project Management Appraisal. Obviously, the type of appraisal to be adopted must be selected according to the particular project circumstances.

If the project is critical and/or complex, but not necessarily very long in duration or politically exposed, and if senior management are unable to participate sufficiently to be comfortable with reports of progress, then a relatively informal internal commentary may be all that is required.

If the project is likely to be politically exposed, or is in the public sector, then a more formal, and more independent enquiry is appropriate. If the project is also of longer duration overall, then a series of enquiries at selected intervals, or at key points of the project life cycle, will be required.

If during construction a weakness in management coordination is suspected, but the implementation of the project is already structured according to the terms of a central contract, or series of related contracts, then an on-going review, or Project Management Overview (PMO) as it is called, may be more appropriate to further strengthen the work of the project management team.

The PMO is not necessarily continuous, but rather is a relatively frequent periodic monitoring of the project's management processes. In fact, continuous monitoring is undesirable, since this merely adds another layer in the organizational hierarchy, and therefore tends to dilute the obligations of those who should normally carry the responsibility. PMO has application whether or not the project owner has its own supervising engineering department, or engages project managers, construction managers, or general contractors to execute its capital works.

If all of these considerations are applicable, and especially if the project or program is of long duration, in fact many years, then full scale formal project management audits at prescribed intervals by an independent consulting firm specializing in this type of work may well be mandatory.

What is Meant by Testing and Effectiveness?  What is Meant by Testing and Effectiveness?

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